Everyone says there are Seven Wonders of the World, but I know there are really Eight. The Eighth being my television remote.

Sure, it looks like a regular old remote, made of plastic and metal and little rubber buttons, but this remote is special. This remote has been to the Other Side and back. 

And lived to tell! 

Like every miracle story, this one started in crisis. And what bigger crisis is there, really, than an impaired television remote?

I really shouldn’t complain. When I was a kid, we didn’t even have a TV remote. We had to walk three miles through the blinding snow just to change the channel.

photo: Al Camardella Jr. on flikr

So I suppose I should have been happy that my remote dedicated a few years of its life to serve my entertainment needs. And I appreciated that, I did.

But I was still shocked when one day, out of the blue, my darling little remote stopped working. 

Change the channel? I don’t think so. Turn down the volume? Not a chance, pal.

Given that my television was still under warranty, and given that I’m a hard-core appliance nerd who reads all my manuals and saves all my warranties and service agreements, I went to my appliance file and pulled out the relevant information.

It just so happened that my television was purchased at Costco. One reason I purchased it there was for their killer warranty plans. You can practically bequeath your appliances to your great-grandchildren and Costco will still cover them.

So it was with great confidence that I dialed the number to the Warranty People on the Costco receipt.

I figured the friendly folks on the other end of the line would give me the number of a place I could take the remote or TV for servicing. Either that, or they’d have me ship them to a factory for repair.

But no.

“I can take care of this over the phone,” said the Warranty Guy.

“Really?” I said.

I’m sure I sounded skeptical. Warranty Guy didn’t care. He had to deal with people like me all day. He wasn’t going to let my resistance phase him.

“Here’s what you do,” said WG. “First you unplug the television.”

“What?” I said.

I was starting to wonder if I was on a modern-day Candid Camera. Next thing I knew, flying monkeys were going to come bursting out of the television. And hidden cameras would film my wacky-and-baffled expression.

“Okaaaaay,” I said.

I unplugged my TV.

“Did you do it?” asked WG.

What? He didn’t trust me? Apparently my lack of faith was oozing through the phone line.  

“I did!” I said, cheerily.

“Cool,” said WG. “Now take the batteries out of the remote.”

This time I didn’t resist. I just did it. Clearly, WG was from another planet. One where you blindly do things that make No Sense Whatsoever.

“Okay,” I said. “The batteries are out of the remote.”

“Great,” said WG. “Now here’s the tricky part.”

I coughed. The tricky part? I checked the TV for flying monkeys. No monkeys. At least not yet.

“Yes,” said WG. “I want you to press the power button on the TV. Then aim the remote toward the television. Then press the power button of the remote for fifteen seconds. Can you do that?”

I wanted to point out that the television was not plugged in. And the remote had no batteries in it. But WG knew that.

“Sure,” I said. “I can do that.”

I felt like a little kid, playing make-believe. I’m going to press this button here, and then I’m going to press this other little button there, and it’s going to turn me into the commander of a space ship that’s going to fly me to the moon and back in twenty-three minutes! In a ship commandeered by flying monkeys!

photo: Ian Irving on flikr


In spite of how foolish I felt, I did as I was told. I pushed the buttons on my disabled appliances and held them down for fifteen seconds.

After the allotted time had passed, WG said, “Okay. You’re done.”

“Done?” I said.

“Yup,” he said. He sounded extremely proud of himself.

I still felt as though I were being punk’d. I’d probably misdialed and some kid was sitting on his couch in Rhode Island, snickering at the silly person on the other end of the line who was following his bizarre and random instructions.

“Yup,” he said again. “Plug in the TV and power up the remote. You should be just fine.”

“Right now?” I said.

“Uh . . . . yeah,” said WG. In spite of all my balking, he was being extremely patient with me.

“Alright,” I said. I plugged in the TV and put the batteries back in the remote.

“Now use the remote to turn on the TV,” said WG.

And that’s when it happened. The miracle.

I pressed the power button on the remote, and my television sparked to life.

“Whoah,” I said. My mouth fell open.

“Cool, eh?” said WG.

“Yeah,” I said. “Cool.”

There are a lot of things that are awesome about this story. There’s the fact that my remote was restored to perfect health. And there’s the fact that it got fixed over the phone.

But here’s my favorite part.

What happened with my remote is just what happens to all of us, every day.

We may not know it, but Spirit is always working in our lives. Even when we’ve yanked our cords out of the walls. Or thrown the batteries out of our remotes.

We may be doing absolutely nothing to be “spiritual”. We may have given up. It doesn’t matter. The Divine Creative Energy is always there, invisibly and imperceptibly working Its magic in our lives. 

photo: Vinoth Chandar on flikr

In fact, it’s often when we’ve abandoned our usual tactics, when we’ve given up on trying to make things happen in the customary and conventional ways, that the Divine really takes over.

The Unseen is magic. It works miracles.

Just ask my television remote. 

What have been your miracles? When has the Divine surprised you?


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